Fence system

- Vision Extrusions Limited

A fence system includes a first extruded lineal extending lengthwise along a first longitudinal axis. The first lineal has a sidewall with at least a first slot in the sidewall and the first slot extends generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. The fence system also includes a second extruded lineal extending lengthwise along a second longitudinal axis. The second extruded lineal includes at least a corresponding first attachment leg extending outward from the second extruded lineal and parallel to the second longitudinal axis. The first attachment leg is integrally extruded with the second extruded lineal and is received in the first slot to secure together the first and second extruded lineals.

Latest Vision Extrusions Limited Patents:

Skip to: Description  ·  Claims  ·  References Cited  · Patent History  ·  Patent History

Description

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent application Ser. No. 61/106,665, filed on Oct. 20, 2008; and U.S. Provisional Patent Appn. Ser. No. 61/109,764, filed on Oct. 30, 2008; and Canadian Pat. Appn. Ser. No. 2,669,440, filed on Jun. 18, 2009, each of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD

The Applicant's teaching disclosed herein relates to fence systems, for example privacy fences and picket fences, and to one or more methods and apparatuses associated with elements of fence systems and the connection structure and assembly thereof.

BACKGROUND

The following paragraphs are not an admission that anything discussed therein is citable as prior art or part of the general knowledge of people skilled in the art.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,702,090 (Edgman) discloses a plastic fence assembly, particularly adapted for use as residential privacy fencing and the like, comprising plural post members which are formed of hollow extruded plastic and have opposed side walls and end walls intersected by one or more elongated channels. Elongated spacer elements may be inserted in the channels and retained therein by interlocking projections on the spacer elements and recesses formed in the sidewalls of the post channels. The spacer elements support side edges of vertically extending picket members, brackets for horizontally extending center rail members and to position at least one or both of elongated top and bottom rail members of the fence assembly. The top and bottom rail members have elongated slots formed therein for receiving opposite ends of generally planar boardlike picket members. The top and bottom rail members and the spacer members may be cut to length as may the post and picket members to provide fencing of a desirable height and distance between posts.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,988,599 (Forbis) discloses a modular fence system. The system includes fence planks designed for insertion into open channels of upper and lower fence rails. The fence rails are supported in a horizontal orientation between intermittent fence posts, with the fence planks extending vertically between the rails. The planks include resilient protrusions at their upper ends. The protrusions of the planks are designed to fit into internal passages formed in the open channels of the upper fence rail, into engagement with ledges defining the passages, to inhibit inadvertent removal of the planks from the upper rail.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,478,287 (DeSouza) discloses a fence panel constructed from extruded hollow polyvinyl plastic boards. The boards are arranged with vertical end boards and filler boards between the end boards. Three horizontal rails each have a board on each side of the vertical boards with a horizontal filler board between the top rail boards to seal off the upper ends of the vertical boards. All of the boards are secured together with a plastic adhesive without the use of any mechanical fasteners.

U.S. patent application publication 2008/0217598 (Dombroski) discloses a fence assembly that is made up of a plurality of fence sections. Each section is made up of panels with top, bottom and side edges and front and rear surfaces. Slots are spaced from and milled into the panels along one of the sets of edges. A pair of trim extends over and covers the set edges and each trim has projections that snap or slide into the front and rear slots. Alternatively the edges of the panel may be beaded and slid over the slotted side of the trim. The fence sections are coupled pivotably to fence posts such that the panels may pivot, under force of wind, about either their top or bottom end. The panels are restored to generally vertical position by the force of gravity. A counterweight within the fence post linked to the panels can be used to restore panels to their vertical position. In an alternate embodiment, the brackets coupling the panels to the fence posts may slide along the fence posts and the panels bow in response to high winds. The fence panels may include resilient strips along their vertical edges.

U.S. patent application 2008/0023684 (Diamond et al.) discloses a non-metallic fence system that has a singular snap lock mechanism for permitting the easy construction of the fence. It also includes a securing device for fixing a fabric to a fence having a rigid body including at least two prongs therefrom and an open face strut profile capable of receiving the prong therein, wherein the prongs are locked within the open face and the fixture can be removed by twisting 90 degrees.

SUMMARY

The following summary is intended to introduce the reader to the disclosure provided herein but not to define any invention. In general, this disclosure describes one or more methods or apparatuses related to injection drive units in injection molding machines.

According to one aspect, a fence system includes a first extruded lineal extending lengthwise along a first longitudinal axis. The first lineal has a sidewall with at least a first slot in the sidewall and the first slot extends generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. The fence system also includes a second extruded lineal extending lengthwise along a second longitudinal axis. The second extruded lineal includes at least a corresponding first attachment leg extending outward from the second extruded lineal and parallel to the second longitudinal axis. The first attachment leg is integrally extruded with the second extruded lineal and is received in the first slot to secure together the first and second extruded lineals.

According to some aspects, a fence section comprises: a) a generally horizontal first rail having an upper face with a first panel recess extending lengthwise along the first rail and extending laterally between opposed first recess sidewalls, the first rail including a first tongue extending laterally from one towards the other of the first recess sidewalls and lengthwise along the first rail; b) a generally horizontal second rail spaced vertically above the first rail and having a lower face with a second panel recess extending lengthwise along the second rail and extending laterally between opposed second slot sidewalls, the second rail including a second tongue extending laterally from one towards the other of the second recess sidewalls and lengthwise along the second rail; and c) a plurality of vertical members extending generally vertically between the first rail and the second rail, each vertical member having a panel height extending between upper and lower ends of the panel and a panel thickness extending laterally between opposed front and back panel faces, the lower end of each vertical member being received in the first panel recess and the upper end of each vertical member being received in the second panel recess. Each vertical member has a constant cross-sectional panel profile along the panel height, and each vertical member includes a lower slot and an upper slot extending horizontally across a width of the vertical member and lengthwise of the rail, the lower slot receiving the first tongue therein and the upper slot receiving the second tongue therein.

In some examples, the vertical members can be in the form of fence panels, pickets, boards, or slats. The vertical members and/or the rails can, in some examples, be formed of plastic and can be injection molded.

In some examples, each vertical member comprises an extruded lineal, made of, for example, but not limited to, a plastic material. The upper and lower slots can comprise cuts (for example, saw cuts) or a similar material-removal feature in the lineals. The slots can be parallel to, and spaced equally apart from, the upper and lower edges of panels.

In some examples, the rails can comprise extruded lineals. The rails can have a constant cross-sectional profile along their length. The rails can be made of a plastic material. Each of the rails, including, for example, the first and second rails and an optional third rail can have a common rail profile. In other words, a length of extruded lineal having the common rail profile can be used as any one of the first, second, or third rails.

According to some aspects, a fence section, comprises: a) a generally horizontal lower rail having an upper face with a lower panel recess extending lengthwise along the first rail and extending laterally between opposed first and second lower recess sidewalls, the lower rail including a lower rail first tongue extending laterally from the first lower recess sidewall towards the second lower recess sidewall and lengthwise along the lower rail, and a lower rail second tongue extending laterally from the second lower recess sidewall towards the first lower recess sidewall and lengthwise along the lower rail; b) a generally horizontal upper rail spaced vertically above the lower rail and having a lower face with an upper panel recess extending lengthwise along the upper rail and extending laterally between opposed first and second upper recess sidewalls, the upper rail including an upper rail first tongue extending laterally from the first upper recess sidewall towards the second upper recess sidewall and lengthwise along the upper rail, and a upper rail second tongue extending laterally from the second upper slot sidewall towards the first upper slot sidewall and lengthwise along the upper rail; and c) a plurality of fence panels extending generally vertically between the lower rail and the upper rail, each fence panel having a panel height extending between upper and lower ends of the panel and a panel thickness extending laterally between opposed front and back panel faces, the lower end of each fence panel being received in the lower panel recess and the upper end of each fence panel being received in the upper panel recess. Each fence panel has a constant cross-sectional panel profile along the panel height, and each fence panel includes a first and a second lower groove and a first and a second upper groove extending horizontally across a width of the fence panel and lengthwise of the rail, the first lower groove receiving the lower rail first tongue therein, the second lower groove receiving the lower rail second tongue therein, the first upper groove receiving the upper rail first tongue therein, the second upper groove receiving the upper rail second tongue therein.

In some examples, the front and/or back faces of fence panel can comprise one or more vertical channels extending along the height of the panel. The channel(s) can give the illusion that each panel comprises a plurality of slats. Each channel can comprise a channel face, and opposed lateral faces. The channel can have the same depth as each of the grooves, and each tongue can abut the channel face(s).

In some examples, each fence panel is provided with cooperating male and female engagement elements, such that each fence panel may be connected to one or more other fence panels. The male and female engagement elements can be configured such that when a male engagement element is inserted into a female engagement element, the joint provides the appearance of a channel. For example, each female engagement element can comprise opposed walls, between which the male engagement element is inserted. The opposed walls can be provided at a distance from the front and back faces of the panel, respectively, that is equal to the depth of the channel(s), and the width of each opposed walls can be equal to the width of the channel face.

In some examples, the first and second lower tongues and the first and second upper tongues are joined to the first and second upper and lower slot sidewalls, respectively, at a vertical position generally at the outer ends of the first and second upper and lower sidewalls. In other examples, the first and second lower tongues and the first and second upper tongues are joined to the first and second upper and lower slot sidewalls, respectively, at a vertical position spaced from the outer ends of the first and second upper and lower sidewalls.

According to some aspects, a connection structure for a fence comprises a first extruded lineal extending lengthwise along a first longitudinal axis and having a sidewall with at least a first slot in the sidewall. The first slot extends generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. The connection structure also comprises a second extruded lineal extending lengthwise along a second longitudinal axis, the second extruded lineal including at least a corresponding first attachment leg extending outward from the second extruded lineal and parallel to the second longitudinal axis. The first attachment leg can be integrally extruded with the second extruded lineal and is received in the first slot to secure together the first and second extruded lineals.

In some examples, the first extruded lineal comprises a second slot parallel to, and spaced apart from, the first slot, and the second extruded lineal comprises a corresponding second attachment leg parallel to the first attachment leg and received in the second slot.

In some examples, each slot comprises an opening through one sidewall. Each opening may have opposed slot edge faces and opposed slot end faces. Each slot edge face and each slot end face may extend laterally from an outer surface of the sidewall to an inner surface of the sidewall.

In some examples, the slot edge faces are parallel to each other.

In some examples, the slot edge faces are oblique relative to the first longitudinal axis.

In some examples, each attachment leg comprises a distal portion spaced apart from the second extruded lineal and a barb extending from the distal portion. Each barb may comprise an abutment surface that bears against the inner surface of the sidewall adjacent the respective slot into which the attachment leg is received for retaining the attachment leg within the slot when the attachment leg is fully inserted into the respective slot.

In some examples, the second extruded lineal comprises a base surface. Each attachment leg may extend from the base surface. The base surface may oppose the abutment service and be spaced apart from the abutment surface by a distance greater than a thickness of the first extruded lineal sidewall.

In some examples, the slot end faces are spaced apart by a first width and the attachment leg received within each slot has a second width. The second width may be generally equal to the first width so that translation of the first extruded lineal relative to the second extruded lineal along the second longitudinal axis is inhibited when the attachment leg is received within the slot.

In some examples, each barb comprises at least one resilient retaining member. The at least one resilient member may be moveable between insertion and retention positions. When the at least one resilient retaining member is in the insertion position the barb can pass between the slot edge faces, and when the at least one resilient retaining member is in the retention position the barb is inhibited from passing between the slot edge faces.

In some examples, the at least one resilient retaining member comprises the abutment face.

According to some aspects, a fence section comprises an upper horizontal rail and a lower horizontal rail extending along respective upper and lower rail axes. The lower rail is spaced vertically below the upper horizontal rail. Each of the rails can comprise a respective extruded lineal including integrally formed attachment legs. The fence section can further comprise a plurality of vertical members each extending between the upper and lower horizontal rails. Each of the vertical members comprises at least one upper slot and at least one lower slot. At least portions of the attachment legs of the upper and lower rails are received within respective ones of the slots to secure each vertical member to the upper and lower horizontal rails.

In some examples, each of the vertical members extends along a respective vertical axis. The upper and lower slots may be generally elongated in a lateral direction generally perpendicular to the vertical axis, and the slots may be generally narrow in the vertical direction. The upper and lower slots can each have a slot length extending generally perpendicular to the vertical axis, and a slot thickness extending in the vertical direction. The slot thickness can be less than the slot length. In some examples, the slot thickness can be only a fraction of the slot length, for example only about one-fifth, or about one-tenth, or about one-fifteenth, or less than about one-twentieth of the slot length.

In some examples, the upper and lower slots can form an opening through a sidewall of each vertical member. Each opening may comprise opposed slot edge faces and opposed slot end faces. Each slot edge face and each slot end face may extend laterally from an outer surface of the sidewall to an inner surface of the sidewall.

In some examples, the slot edge faces are parallel to each other.

In some examples, the slot edge faces are oblique relative to the outer surface of the sidewall.

In some examples, the slot end faces are parallel to each other and are spaced apart by a slot length and the slot edge faces are spaced apart by a slot height.

In some examples, each attachment leg comprises opposing attachment leg end faces spaced apart by an attachment leg length. The attachment leg length may be less than the slot length of the corresponding slot.

In some examples, each attachment leg includes a barb. Each barb may comprise an abutment surface that bears against the inner surface of the sidewall adjacent the respective corresponding slot, into which the attachment leg is received when the attachment leg is fully inserted into its slot.

In some examples, the upper and lower rails each comprise a base surface. Each attachment leg may extend from one base surface. Each base surface may oppose the abutment surfaces of the attachment legs extending therefrom, and may be spaced apart from the abutment surfaces by a distance greater than a thickness of the sidewall.

In some examples, each barb has a generally wedge-shaped cross-section comprising a leading edge spaced apart from its abutment surface so that the each barb facilitates insertion of the attachment leg into its slot and resists removal of the attachment leg from its slot.

In some examples, each attachment leg is resiliently moveable between a first position for inserting the attachment leg and barb through the respective slot and a second position for retaining the attachment leg within the respective slot. In the second position the abutment surface may engage the inner surface of the sidewall, and the attachment leg may be biased toward the second position.

In some examples, each barb comprises at least one resilient retaining member. The at least one resilient member may be moveable between insertion and retention positions. When the at least one resilient retaining member is in the insertion position, the barb has a barb height that is less than the slot height. When the at least one resilient retaining member is in the retention position, the barb has a barb height that is greater than the slot height.

In some examples, each resilient retaining member is biased toward the retention position.

In some examples, the resilient retaining member comprises the abutment surface. When the attachment leg is fully inserted in its slot and the resilient retaining member is in the retention position, the abutment surface may engage the inner surface of the sidewall.

In some examples, each attachment leg further comprises a protrusion. The protrusion may extend away from the attachment leg and may be intermediate the resilient retaining member and the base surface.

In some examples, each the protrusion has a protrusion height that can be less than the slot height.

In some examples, each protrusion is registered with one slot edge face when the attachment leg is fully received in its slot to inhibit vertical displacement between the vertical members and upper and lower rails.

In some examples, both horizontal rails have a common extruded profile comprising a downward opening, generally C-shaped channel. The channel may have a horizontal upper wall and first and second vertical, laterally spaced apart, integrally formed rail sidewalls. The profile may define an internal cavity between the rail sidewalls and adjacent the upper wall.

In some examples, the upper wall of each horizontal rail comprises a plurality of apertures spaced apart along the length of the rail. The apertures in the upper horizontal rail may be aligned with corresponding apertures in the lower horizontal rail and each vertical member may pass through respective aligned ones of the apertures in the upper and lower horizontal rails.

In some examples, each vertical member extends beyond the upper wall of the upper horizontal rail and extends beyond a bottom edge of the sidewalls of the lower horizontal rail.

In some examples, the attachment legs include laterally opposed first and second attachment legs extending inwardly towards each other from the first and second sidewalls respectively.

In some examples, each vertical member comprises a set of opposing upper slots and a set of opposing lower slots formed in opposing sidewalls of the vertical member for receiving the first and second opposed attachment legs of the upper and lower rails respectively.

In some examples, both horizontal rails have a common extruded profile comprising spaced apart top and bottom walls connected by integrally formed first and second rail sidewalls forming a generally rectangular channel.

In some examples, the attachment legs extend from an outer surface of the first rail sidewall of both horizontal rails.

In some examples the fence section comprises attachment legs extending from an outer surface of the second rail sidewall of both horizontal rails.

In some examples, the plurality of vertical members comprises first and second sets of vertical members. The attachment legs may extend from the first rail sidewall of the upper and lower horizontal rail and may be received within the corresponding upper and lower slots of the vertical members in the first set of vertical members, thereby securing each vertical member in the first set of vertical members adjacent the first sidewall of both horizontal side rails.

In some examples, the attachment legs extend from the second sidewall of the upper and lower horizontal rails and are received within the corresponding upper and lower slots of the vertical members in the second set of vertical members, thereby securing each vertical member in the second set of vertical members adjacent the second sidewall of both horizontal side rails.

In some examples, vertical members from the first and second sets are arranged in an alternating sequence along the length of the upper and lower horizontal side rails.

In some examples, the attachment leg length is generally equal to the slot length so that translation of each vertical member relative to the upper and lower horizontal rails along the upper and lower rail axes is inhibited when the attachment leg is received its slot.

In some examples, the attachment of the vertical members to the upper and lower horizontal rails comprises only the connection between the attachment legs and slots and is free from other fastening means.

In some examples, the connection between the attachment legs and slots comprises a snap-fit connection.

According to some aspects, a method of assembling a fence section comprises the steps of: a) providing a first horizontal rail having at least one integrally formed attachment leg extending therefrom, b) providing a second horizontal rail, the second horizontal rail being spaced apart from the first horizontal rail and having at least one integrally formed attachment leg extending therefrom, c) providing a plurality of vertical members, each vertical member having at least one upper slot formed in a sidewall for receiving one attachment leg from the first horizontal rail and at least one lower slot formed in the sidewall for receiving one attachment leg from the second horizontal rail, and d) connecting each vertical member to the first and second horizontal rails by inserting one attachment leg on the first horizontal rail into the at least one upper slot on each vertical member and inserting one attachment leg on the second horizontal rail into the at least one lower slot on each vertical member.

According to some aspects, a method of making a fence system includes extruding a vertical member profile along an extrusion axis, and cutting the profile to length along a cutting axis generally perpendicular to the extrusion axis to form vertical members for a fence. During or after the profile is cut to length, at least one upper and at least one lower attachment slot can be cut into the vertical member, parallel to the cutting axis and adjacent upper and lower ends of each vertical member. The method can include extruding upper and lower rail profiles, each including an attachment leg extending laterally outwardly of the rail profiles for engagement with the slots of the vertical members.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The drawings included herewith are for illustrating various examples of articles, methods, and apparatuses of the present specification and are not intended to limit the scope of what is taught in any way. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first example of a fence section according to one aspect of the Applicant's teaching;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of a common extruded rail profile of the fence section of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a partially exploded perspective view of the fence section of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the fence section of FIG. 1 taken along the lines 4-4;

FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the fence section of FIG. 3 taken along the lines 5-5;

FIG. 5B is a perspective view of an alternate example of a fence section;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of another example of a fence section;

FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view of the fence section of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of the fence section of FIG. 6 taken along the lines 8-8;

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the fence section of FIG. 7 taken along the lines 9-9;

FIGS. 10 and 11 are cross-sectional views of portions of the fence sections of FIGS. 6 and 1, respectively, with optional wooden reinforcement members;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of another example of a fence section;

FIG. 13 is a cross-sectional view of a portion of the fence section of FIG. 12 taken along the lines 13-13;

FIG. 14 is an enlarged view of a portion of the fence section of FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of another example of a fence section;

FIG. 16 is a cross sectional view of a fence panel, taken along line 16-16 in FIG. 15;

FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional view of a common extruded rail profile of the fence section of FIG. 15;

FIG. 18 is a cross sectional view of a fence section, taken along line 18-18 in FIG. 15;

FIG. 19 is a cross sectional view of a fence section, taken along line 19-19 in FIG. 15; and

FIG. 20 is a cross sectional view of another example of a fence section.

FIG. 21 is a perspective view of another example of a fence section;

FIG. 22 is a partial section view of the fence section of FIG. 21;

FIG. 23A is a perspective view of a portion of a fence section;

FIG. 23B is an exploded view of the fence section of FIG. 23a;

FIG. 24 is a section view of a rail;

FIG. 24B is a perspective view of another example of a fence section;

FIG. 25 is a perspective view of another example of a fence section;

FIG. 26A is a perspective view of a portion of a fence section;

FIG. 26B is an exploded view of the fence section of FIG. 26a;

FIG. 27 is a section view of the fence section of FIG. 26a;

FIG. 27B is a detail view of a portion of FIG. 27;

FIG. 28 is a perspective view of another example of a fence section;

FIG. 28B is a perspective view of another example of a fence section;

FIG. 29 is an end view of another example of a rail;

FIG. 30 is an end view of a rail having a barb with a resilient member;

FIG. 30B is a detail view of a portion of FIG. 30;

FIG. 31A is an end view of a rail of FIG. 30 with the resilient barb in the insertion position;

FIG. 31B is an end view of a rail of FIG. 30 with the resilient barb in the retention position;

FIG. 31C is an end view of a rail of FIG. 30 connected to a vertical member and having the resilient barb in the retention position;

FIG. 31D is a perspective illustration of another example of a rail;

FIG. 31E is a cross section taken along line 31E-31E in FIG. 31D, and further including a vertical member mounted to the rail;

FIG. 32 is a perspective view of a connection structure for use with a fence section; and

FIG. 33 is a partial section view of the connection structure of FIG. 32.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Various apparatuses or processes will be described below to provide an example of an embodiment of each claimed invention. No embodiment described below limits any claimed invention and any claimed invention may cover processes or apparatuses that are not described below. The claimed inventions are not limited to apparatuses or processes having all of the features of any one apparatus or process described below or to features common to multiple or all of the apparatuses described below. It is possible that an apparatus or process described below is not an embodiment of any claimed invention. Any invention disclosed in an apparatus or process described below that is not claimed in this document may be the subject matter of another protective instrument, for example, a continuing patent application, and the applicants, inventors or owners do not intend to abandon, disclaim or dedicate to the public any such invention by its disclosure in this document.

Referring to FIG. 1, an example of a fence section 110 includes generally horizontal first and second rails 112, 114, (also referred to as lower rail 112 and upper rail 114) and a plurality of fence panels (also called vertical members) 115 extending generally vertically between the first and second rails 112, 114.

Referring to FIG. 2, each of the rails 112, 114 is, in the example illustrated, made of a common extruded rail profile 116. The profile 116 includes laterally spaced apart side faces 118a, 118b extending between a proximal face 120 and a distal face 122 spaced vertically apart from the proximal face 120. A generally U-shaped panel recess 124 is provided in the proximal face 120. The panel recess 124 has laterally spaced apart first and second panel recess sidewalls 126a, 126b, each having an outer end 128a, 128b at the proximal face 120, and an inner end 130a, 130b disposed vertically intermediate the proximal face 120 and the distal face 122. A panel recess base 132 extends generally laterally inwardly from the inner ends 130a, 130b of the panel recess sidewalls 126a, 126b.

In the example illustrated, the rail profile 116 includes a distal lattice recess 134 associated with the distal face 122. The distal lattice recess 134 includes opposed distal lattice recess sidewalls 136a, 136b each having an outer end 138a, 138b at the distal face 122, and an inner end 140a, 140b disposed vertically intermediate the distal face 122 and the panel recess base 132. A distal lattice recess base 142 extends generally laterally between the inner ends 140a, 140b of the distal lattice recess sidewalls 136a, 136b.

A frangible cover strip 143 can be provided for releasably covering the distal lattice recess 134. The frangible cover strip 143 can extend laterally between the outer ends 140a, 140b of the distal lattice recess sidewalls 136a, 136b. In the example illustrated, the distal face 122 is generally planar, and the frangible cover strip 143 is coplanar with the distal face 122.

In the example illustrated, the connection between opposed lateral edges of the cover strip 143 and the adjacent outer ends 138a, 138b of the distal lattice sidewalls 136a, 136b comprises a thinned section of extruded material (e.g. having opposed v-grooves), facilitating tearing away the cover strip 143 to provide access to the recess 134 for use.

The rail profile 116 can additionally or alternatively be provided with a proximal lattice recess 144 associated with the proximal face 120. The proximal lattice recess 144 has laterally spaced apart proximal lattice recess sidewalls 146a, 146b each having an outer end 148a, 148b at the panel recess base 132, and an inner end 150a, 150b vertically intermediate the panel recess base 132 and the distal lattice recess base 142. A proximal lattice recess base 152 extends laterally between the inner ends 150a, 150b of the proximal lattice recess sidewalls 146a, 146b.

The rail profile 116 further includes at least one tongue 158 extending from one panel recess sidewall inwardly of the recess 124, towards the opposing panel recess sidewall. In the example illustrated, the tongue 158 extends from the panel recess sidewall 126a laterally (generally horizontally) towards the other panel recess sidewall 126b. The tongue 158 is joined to the panel recess sidewall 126a at a vertical position generally intermediate the inner and outer ends 128a, 130a thereof.

Referring to FIG. 3, the fence panel 115 has a height 160 extending between lower and upper ends 162, 164 of the panel 115. Each fence panel 115 has a generally constant lateral thickness along its height 160, and can comprise an extruded lineal having a constant cross-sectional panel profile along its height 160. Each panel 115 has a lower groove (or slot) 166 provided in one face of the panel 115 and extending across the panel 115 in a direction lengthwise of the rails 112, 114, adjacent the lower end 162. Each panel 115 has a similar upper groove (or slot) 168 adjacent the upper end 164.

Referring to FIGS. 3, 4, and 5, in use, the lower ends 162 of the fence panels 115 are received in the first panel recesses 124 of the first rail 112. The upper ends 164 of the fence panels 115 are received in the first panel recesses 124 of second rail 114. The tongues 158 of the respective rails 112, 114 are received in the respective slots 166, 168. The panels 115 can be inserted by sliding the panels 115 lengthwise along the rails 112, 114 with the tongues 158 aligned with the slots 166, 168. Alternatively, the rails 112, 114 and the panels 115 can be press fit together in a generally vertical direction with the ends 162, 164 of the panels 115 aligned with the recess 124, and at least one of the rail or panel resiliently deforming to accommodate insertion of the end of the panel 115 past the tongue 158. The engagement of the tongue 158 in the grooves 166, 168 provides interlocking of the panels 115 with the rails 112, 114 along substantially the entire width (extending parallel to the length of the rails 112, 114) of the panels 115.

As seen in FIGS. 1 and 3, the fence section 110 can be provided with a lattice panel 170 mounted in the upper face of the second rail 114. The cover strip 143 can be removed from the second rail 114, and a lower marginal portion of the lattice panel 170 can be seated in the distal lattice recess 134.

A third rail 172 can be mounted atop the lattice panel 170. In the example, illustrated, the third rail 172 has the same common rail profile 116 as the first and second rails 112, 114. An upper marginal portion of the lattice panel 170 is received in the proximal lattice recess 144 (see also FIGS. 4 and 5).

In an alternate example shown in FIG. 5B, the lattice panel 170 may have a curved upper end, and the third rail 172 may also be curved between opposed ends thereof.

In FIGS. 6 and 7, another example of a rail section 210 is shown. The rail section 210 is similar to the rail section 110, and like features are identified by like reference characters, incremented by 100. The rail section 210 includes first and second rails 212, 214 with fence panels 215 extending vertically therebetween. In the fence section 210, gaps 217 are provided between adjacent ones of the panels 215. The rails 212, 214 have a common rail profile 216 to which spacers 219 can be clipped in registration with the gaps 217 to facilitate providing the gaps 217 between the panels 215.

Referring to FIGS. 8 and 9, the common rail profile 216 includes inwardly directed lugs 221 extending laterally inwardly from the panel recess sidewalls near the upper ends thereof. The lugs 221 inter-engage with protrusions 223 extending laterally outwardly from mounting legs 225 extending from the back surface of the spacer 219.

The profile 216 can also include pressure tabs 227 extending generally from the panel recess base towards the proximal face of the profile 216. The pressure tabs 227 are configured to bear against the end face of the panel 215. This can facilitate secure mounting of the panels 215 in the panel recesses 224.

In FIGS. 10 and 11, the profiles 216 and 116 are shown with wooden reinforcement members 280, 180 (respectively) provided within the hollow interior of the respective rails 212, 214, 112, 114. The profiles 116, 216 can be sized to accommodate dimensional lumber (e.g. 1×3). Webs 182, 282 and/or standoffs 184, 284 can be provided in the interior of the profiles 116, 216 to provide a snug fit for the wooden reinforcement 180, 280.

FIG. 12 shows another example of a fence section 310 having rails 312, 314 with a common rail profile 316. Fence panels 315 are provided with cooperating male and female engagement elements 371, 373 extending along the height 360 of the panels 315 at opposite vertical side edges thereof. The male engagement elements 371 can be received in the female engagement elements 373 of an adjacent panel 315 (FIGS. 13 and 14) to facilitate securing together the fence section 310.

FIGS. 15-19 show another example of a fence section 410 that is similar to the fence section 110, with like features identified by like reference characters incremented by 300. The fence section 410 includes first and second rails 412, 414 (or lower rail 412 and upper rail 414), with a common rail profile 416 and a plurality of panels 415 extending between the rails 412, 414.

Referring to FIGS. 15 and 16, the fence panels 415 each have opposed front and back faces 417a, 417b generally disposed in vertical planes, parallel with each other and the rails 412, 414. Each panel 415 has a panel thickness 419 extending orthogonally between the front and back faces 417a, 417b, and a panel width 421 extending longitudinally along the rails 412, 414, between opposed first and second vertically extending ends 423a, 423b.

The front and back faces 417a, 417b can be provided with one or more recessed channels 486 extending along the height 460 of the panel. Each channel 486 comprises opposed channel side faces 490a, 490b, extending generally orthogonally from the respective panel face 417a, 417b and towards the panel interior (i.e. towards the opposing panel face), and a channel base 492 extending between the lateral faces. The channel base 492 is, in the example illustrated, generally planar and parallel to the faces 417a, 417b. The orthogonal (or lateral) extent of the channel side faces 490a, 490b generally defines a channel depth D1. The spacing between the channel side faces 490a, 490b (measured parallel to the rails) generally defines a channel width W1. The channels 486 provide the panels 415 with raised panel portions 425 on either side of the recessed channels 486. The raised panel portions 425 can create the appearance of a plurality of side-by-side slats each extending longitudinally along the height 460 of the panel 415.

In the example shown, each panel 415 comprises one channel 486 spaced approximately mid-way between the vertically extending ends 423a, 423b. However, in other examples, more than one channel 486 may be provided on each face.

Referring to FIGS. 16 and 18, each fence panel 415 is, in the example illustrated, provided with cooperating male and female engagement elements 471, 473 at respective ones of the vertically extending side edges or ends 423a, 423b. The male and female engagement elements are configured such that when two panels 415 are assembled in side-by-side relation, the male engagement element 471 can inter-engage with the female engagement element 473. In the example illustrated, the engagement elements 471, 473 are integrally extruded with the panels 415, and extend continuously along the height 460 of the panels 415. When the male engagement element 471 is inserted into the female engagement element 473, the male protruding member fits within laterally spaced apart front and rear walls 494a, 494b of the female engagement member 473. Each wall 494a, 494b is generally parallel to, and in the same plane as, the base 492 of the channels 486 in the respective front and rear panel faces 417a, 417b. The front wall 494a is laterally recessed relative to the front panel face 417a by a distance D2 that is generally equal to the distance D1. The back wall 494b is similarly offset relative to the back panel face 417b.

Further, the width W2 (extending parallel to the rails 412, 414) of each wall 494a, 494b is generally equal to the width W1 of the channel face 492. Accordingly, referring to FIG. 18, when the male engagement element 471 is inserted between the walls 494a and 494b of FIG. 16, the joint 475 appears similar to channel 486, with walls 494a and 494b appearing similar to channel face 492. The male member 471 has front and rear sidewalls 477a, 477b that are also generally parallel to, and the same width as, the channel bases 492. The lateral spacing of the sidewalls 477a, 477b from the respective faces 417a, 417b, is slightly greater than D1 so that the male member 471 fits within the female member 473. However, the single male member 471 abutting a newel post at one end of the fence nevertheless has a visual appearance very similar to channels 486 and female end 473 (see FIG. 18).

Referring to FIG. 17, each common rail profile 416 comprises at least one laterally inwardly directed tongue extending inwardly of the recess 424. In the example illustrated, two laterally opposed first and second tongues 458a, 458b are provided, each extending inwardly of the recess 424. The first tongue 458a extends from the first panel recess sidewall 426a towards the second panel recess sidewall 426b, and the second tongue 458b extends from the second panel recess sidewall 426b towards the first panel recess sidewall 426a. The tongues 458a and 458b are joined to the panel recess sidewalls 426a, 426b at a vertical position generally at the outer ends 428a, 428b thereof, respectively. In other words, the tongues 458a and 458b extend inwardly from the sidewalls 426a, 426b generally at the respective outer ends 428a, 428b, thereof. The tongues 458a, 458b can be generally coplanar with the proximal face 420.

Referring to FIG. 19, the panels 415 are provided with at least one slot or groove to receive the at least one tongue of the rail profile. In the example illustrated, two grooves are provided (front and back lower grooves) 466a, 466b to receive tongues 458a and 458b, respectively, of the lower rail 412, and with front and back upper grooves 468a, 468b to receive the tongues 458a, 458b, respectively, of the upper rail 414. In the example illustrated, the grooves 466 and 468 extend across the raised panel portions 425 of the panels 415, between the edges 423a, 423b and the channels 486. The bases 492 of the channels 486 are free of the grooves 466a, 466b, 468a, 468b and remain vertically intact across the elevation at which the grooves 466a, 466b, 468a, 468b are provided in the raised panel portions 425 on either side of the channels 486.

To provide the grooves 466a, 466b, 468a, 468b, a saw cut can be made across the entire width 421 of the panel 415. The depth of cut can be set to generally equal the channel depth D1, so that the thickness of the extruded wall forming the raised panels 425 is cut through, but the wall forming the base 492 is below the depth of cut and so remains uncut.

Upon installation, when the tongues 458a, 458b are received in the slots 466 and 468, the innermost edges of the tongues 458a, 458b generally abut the channel bases 492. This can help to close off what would otherwise be an opening between the outer edges 428a, 428b of the panel slot sidewalls 426a, 426b and the base panel 492 of the channels 486. If left uncovered, such openings could admit snow, dirt, water or other matter to invade the rails. Further, as grooves 466, 468 are not provided in channels 486 (i.e. grooves 466, 468 are not cut into the channel bases 492), the channel bases 492 may provide additional strength to the panels 415.

FIG. 20 shows another example of a common rail profile 518 and a panel 515. In this example, the tongues 558a and 558b are joined to the panel recess sidewalls 526a, 526b at a vertical position near but spaced slightly vertically inward of the outer ends 528a, 528b thereof. The tongues 558a and 558b are slightly spaced from the junction of the panel recess sidewalls 526a, 426b, and the proximal face 520, vertically recessed relative to the proximal face 520. This can provide a vertical skirt segment 555a, 555b of the respective panel slot sidewalls 526a, 526b extending between the tongues 558a, 558b and the proximal face 520. The skirt segments 555a, 555b can conceal proximal edges 567a, 567b and 569a, 569b of the upper and lower grooves 566a, 566b, 568a, 568b in the front and back faces 417a, 417b of the panel 415, respectively, and provide additional lateral support to the raised panel portions 425 adjacent such proximal edges 567a, 567b and 569a, 569b.

Another example of a fence section 1100 is shown in FIGS. 21 to 24. Referring to FIG. 21, fence section 1100 includes generally horizontal upper and lower rails 1110, 1112 that extend along respective upper and lower rail axes 1114, 1116. The lower rail 1112 is generally aligned with and spaced vertically below the upper rail 1110 by a distance 1113. The distance 1113 between the rails 1110, 1112 may be chosen based on the customer requirements or according to industry standards. In some examples the distance 1113 may be between about 0.2 meters and 3.0 meters. In other examples, the distance 1113 may be about 1.5 meters. In the example illustrated each of the rails 1110, 1112 is formed from a respective extruded lineal and includes integrally formed attachment legs 1130.

Referring still to FIG. 21, the fence section 1100 includes a plurality of vertical members 1150 extending between the upper and lower horizontal rails 1110, 1112. Referring to FIGS. 22 and 23b, each vertical member 1150 includes at least one upper slot 1152 and at least one lower slot (not shown) corresponding to attachment legs 1130 of the upper and lower rails 1110, 1112 respectively. The attachment legs 1130 of the upper and lower rails 1110, 1112 are received within their corresponding upper slot 1152 and lower slot to secure each vertical member 1150 to the upper and lower horizontal rails 1110, 1112.

Each of the vertical members 1150 defines and extends along a respective vertical axis, for example vertical axis 1156. The vertical members 1150 are, in the example illustrated, extruded lineals that each have the same extruded cross section. In some examples each vertical member 1150 may be extruded as a separate member, or may be an injection molded member, or the vertical members 1150 may each be cut to length from a single, longer extruded member. The vertical axis of each vertical member generally coincides with the extrusion direction of the vertical members. The upper 1152 and lower slots of the vertical members 1150 extend generally perpendicular to its vertical axis. The upper 1152 and lower slots may be formed in the vertical members 1150 using a secondary manufacturing process after the vertical members 1150 have been extruded, for example by cutting, routing, machining and milling. In the example illustrated the upper 1152 and lower slots are formed by plunge cutting with a saw blade having a thickness generally equal to the thickness of the slot. The saw blade can have a depth a cut that provides a slot all the way through the sidewall, and having notches in each edge wall orthogonal to the sidewall.

FIGS. 22 to 23B show the lower slot 1152 in detail. The upper slot may be identical to the lower slot, and is not shown separately in detail. As shown in FIGS. 23A and 23B, the lower slot 1152 forms an opening 1158 that extends through their respective sidewalls 1160 on each vertical member 1150. Each opening 1158 includes and is defined by a pair of opposed slot edge faces 1162 and a pair of opposed slot end faces 1164, each slot edge face 1162 and each slot end face 1164 extending laterally from an outer surface 1166 of the sidewall 1160 to an inner surface 1168 of the sidewall 1160. The slot edge faces 1162 are generally parallel to each other.

In some examples the upper 1152 and lower slots are cut into the sidewall 1160 so that the slot faces 1162, 1164 are generally orthogonal to the outer surface 1166 of the sidewall 1160. Such slots may be created by cutting the vertical members 1150 using a saw blade that is generally orthogonal to the sidewalls 1160. In other examples, the slots are cut into the sidewall 1160 so that the slot edge faces 1162 are at an oblique angle 1163 relative to outer surface 1166. This type of angle slot may be formed by cutting the vertical members 1150 with an angled saw blade. Angled slot edge faces 1162 may provide clearance for the attachment legs 1130 to flex and bend as they are snapped or snap-fit into the slots while maintaining the vertical connection to and support of the rail members 1110, 1112 once the attachment legs 1130 have been fully inserted into their respective slots. The slot end faces 1164 are parallel to each other and are spaced apart by a slot length 1159b and the slot edge faces 1162 are spaced apart by a slot height 1159a.

In the example illustrated, each attachment leg 1130 comprises opposing attachment leg end faces 1132 spaced apart by an attachment leg length. The attachment leg length is generally equal to, but slightly less than the slot length 1159b of the corresponding slot so that the attachment leg end faces 1132 can closely fit between the slot end faces 1164 without interfering with the slot end faces 1164 so that the attachment leg 1130 can be inserted into its slot.

Referring to FIG. 24, each attachment leg 1130 includes a barb 1134. The barb 1134 includes an abutment surface 1136 that engages and bears against a portion of the inner surface of the sidewall 1168 adjacent or proximate the slot into which the attachment leg 1130 is received. When an attachment leg 1130 is fully inserted into its slot the engagement between the abutment surface 1136 of the barb 1134 and the inner surface of the sidewall 1168 tends to retain the attachment leg 1130 within the slot and resist removal therefrom.

Referring still to FIG. 24, the upper and lower rails 1110, 1112 also include a base surface 1138. Each attachment leg 1130 formed on the rail 1110, 1112 extends from a base surface 1138 and each base surface 1138 generally opposes the abutment surfaces 1136 of the attachment legs 1130 extending therefrom. The base surface 1138 is generally spaced apart from the abutment surfaces 1136 by a distance that is greater than the thickness of the sidewalls 1160 of the vertical members 1150. As illustrated in FIG. 22, when an attachment leg 1130 is fully inserted into its slot, the barb 1134 will be positioned inside the hollow interior of the vertical member 1160 and its abutment surface 1136 will engage the inner surface of the vertical member 1160. As described above, the base surface 1138 of each rail 1110, 1112 is opposed to and offset from the abutment surface 1136 so that the base surface 1138 will simultaneously engage the outer surface 1166 of the sidewall 1160 when the abutment surface 1136 engages the inner surface 1168.

Referring still to FIG. 24, each barb 1134 has a generally wedge-shaped cross-section comprising a leading edge 1140 spaced apart from its abutment surface 1136 so that the each attachment leg 1130 facilitates insertion into and resists removal from its slot. The relative size and shape of the barb 1134 may be chosen to provide the insertion and removal performance desired by the user. Each attachment leg 1130 may also be resilient, or include some resilient portions, so that it is moveable between a first position for inserting the attachment leg 1130 and barb 1134 through its slot and a second position for retaining (or securing or locking) the attachment leg 1130 within its slot. When the attachment leg 1130 is in its first or insertion position the barb 1134 can be passed through the slot from outside the vertical member 1150 to inside the hollow interior of the vertical member 1150. To facilitate insertion of the attachment leg 1130 and barb 1134, an angled portion of the barb 1134 (extending from the leading edge to the abutment surface 1136 in the example shown) may engage a slot edge face 1162 and act as a cam surface to guide the barb 1134 as it is inserted. The engagement between the barb 1134 and the slot edge face 1162 may also create a force that is sufficient to deflect the resilient portion of the attachment leg 1130 as the leg 1130 is inserted. When the attachment leg 1130 is in the second position the abutment surface 1136 engages the inner surface 1168 of the sidewall 1160. The resilient nature of the attachment leg 1130 biases the attachment leg 1130 is second position. In other examples, the attachment 1130 may be biased toward its second position by an external biasing means (for example a spring).

In the example illustrated in FIGS. 21 to 24, horizontal rails 1110, 1112 have a common extruded profile generally taking the form a downward opening, generally C-shaped channel. Each rail 1110, 1112 channel has a horizontal upper wall 1118 and first and second vertical, spaced apart, integrally formed rail sidewalls 1120, 1122 that define an internal cavity 1124. The upper wall 1118 of each horizontal rail 1110, 1112 includes a plurality of apertures 1126 spaced apart along the length of the rail 1110, 1112. When the fence section 1100 is assembled the rails 1110, 1112 are positioned so that the apertures 1126 in the upper horizontal rail 1110 are aligned with corresponding apertures 1126 in the lower horizontal rail so that each vertical member 1150 extending between the horizontal rails 1110, 1112 is received within one aperture 1126 in the upper horizontal rail 1110 and its corresponding aperture 1126 in the lower horizontal rail 1112.

Referring to FIG. 21, in the example illustrated, each vertical member 1150 extends beyond the upper wall 1118 of the upper horizontal rail 1110 beyond the bottom edge of the sidewalls 1120, 1122 of the lower horizontal rail 1112 so that the fence section 1100 may visually resemble a traditional picket fence constructed using known techniques. The extent to which the vertical members 1150 extend above and below the horizontal rails 1110, 1112 may be adjusted based on customer preference or any other consideration. As the position of the horizontal rails 1110, 1112 relative to the vertical members 1150 is based on the relative location of the slots 1152, 1154, the position of the slots 1152, 1154 on the vertical members 1150 may be changed to suit the customer requests.

When the rails 1110, 1112 have a generally C-shaped profile, as illustrated in FIGS. 21 to 24, the rails 1110, 1112 are formed with opposing pairs of attachment legs 1130 extending from an inner face 1128 of the first and second rail sidewalls 1120, 1122 of the upper and lower rails 1110, 1112. In this configuration, the attachment legs 1130 are arranged as pairs of opposing attachment legs 1130 along the length of the internal cavity 1124 at a desired interval (based on the desired spacing of the vertical members 1150). Each attachment leg 1130 in a pair of opposing attachment legs 1130 extends toward its opposing attachment leg 1130 and into the internal cavity 1124.

Complementing the arrangement of opposing attachment legs 1130 each vertical member 1150 includes a set of complimentary opposing upper slots 1152 and a set of opposing lower slots 1154 formed in opposing sidewalls 1160 of the vertical member 1150 for receiving the opposing pairs of attachment legs 1130 on the upper and lower rails 1110, 1112 respectively.

In this example, the rail sidewalls 1120, 1122 may also be at least partially resilient to enable them to flex outwardly when the vertical members 1150 are inserted through the internal cavity 1124 when the attachment legs 1130 are not aligned with the slots 1152, 1154, and then to return to their original configuration after the attachment legs 1130 are inserted through the slots 1152, 1154.

The apertures 1126 in the upper walls 1118 of the rails 1110, 1112 are illustrated as being generally rectangular, with rounded corners that are shaped to snugly receive the vertical members 1150. In other examples, both the apertures 1126 and the vertical members 1150 maybe of a different configuration. While the vertical members 1150 are shown as being generally rectangular, it is understood that the cross-sectional shape (and its dimensions and proportions) of the vertical members 1150 may be any suitable shape, including square, rectangular, triangular, circular and polygonal. Similarly, the apertures 1126 may be of any desired size and shape that can receive a corresponding vertical member. The apertures may have the same general shape and size as the vertical members so that the vertical members closely fit within the apertures with little visible gap between the surfaces of the vertical member and the receiving aperture. Alternatively, the apertures may be of a different size and/or shape than the vertical members so that the vertical members are loosely received within the apertures. For example, a round vertical member could be loosely received within a larger, square aperture.

In an alternate example shown in FIG. 24B, the fence section 1100 includes a second horizontal upper rail 1110b, positioned above the upper rail 1110. The second horizontal upper rail 1110b is substantially the same as the upper rail 1110. Further the vertical members 1150 include a second upper slot (not shown), which corresponds to attachment legs (not shown) of the second upper rail 1110b. The second upper rail 1110b is mounted to the vertical members in the same manner as the upper rail 1110. The second horizontal upper rail 1110b may, for example, be included in the fence section 1100 for aesthetic purposes.

Referring now to FIGS. 25 to 29, another example of a fence section 1200 is shown. The connection structure used to attach the members of fence section 1200 is similar to the connection structure of fence section 1100, and like features are identified by like reference characters, incremented by 100. The fence section 1200 includes upper and lower horizontal rails 1210, 1212 that are spaced apart by a vertical distance 1213.

Fence section 1200 also includes a plurality of vertical members 1250 extending between the upper and lower horizontal rails 1210, 1212. Referring to FIG. 26B, each vertical member 1250 includes a pair of upper slots 1252 and a pair lower slots 1254 corresponding to the attachment legs 1230 of the upper and lower rails 1210, 1212 respectively. The attachment legs 1230 of the upper and lower rails 1210, 1212 are received within their corresponding slots 1252, 1254 to secure each vertical member 1250 to the upper and lower horizontal rails 1210, 1212. The connection between the attachment legs 1230 and the slots 1252, 1254 can provide the only attachment between the rails 1210, 1212 and the vertical members 1250. In these examples no additional mechanical or chemical fasteners are used to secure the vertical members 1250 to the rails 1210, 1212. In other examples, the connection between the attachment legs 1230 and the slots 1252, 1254 (or the members of other examples described herein) may be supplemented using known chemical or mechanical fasteners including, for example, but not limited to, glue, screws, nails, bolts, welding or adhesive tape.

Referring to FIG. 25, each of the vertical members 1250 defines and extends along a respective vertical axis, for example vertical axis 1256. The vertical members 1250 are extruded lineals that each have the same extruded cross section. In some examples each vertical member 1250 may be extruded as a separate member; in other examples the vertical members 1250 may each be cut to length from a single, longer extruded member. The vertical axis of each vertical member generally coincides with the extrusion direction of the vertical members. The upper and lower slots 1252, 1254 of the vertical members 1250 extend generally perpendicular to the axis 1256.

With reference to FIG. 26b, the upper and lower slots 1252, 1254 in the example illustrated each form an opening 1258 that extends through a sidewall 1260 on each vertical member 1250. Each opening 1258 includes and is defined by a pair of opposed slot edge faces 1262 and a pair of opposed slot end faces 1264, each slot edge face 1262 and each slot end face 1264 extending laterally from an outer surface 1266 of the sidewall 1260 to an inner surface 1268 of the sidewall 1260 (shown in FIG. 27). The slot edge faces 1262 are generally parallel to each other.

In some examples the slots 1252, 1254 can be cut into the sidewall 1260 so that the slot faces 1262, 1264 are generally orthogonal to the outer surface 1266 of the sidewall 1260. Such slots 1252, 1254 may be created by plunge cutting the vertical members 1250 using a saw blade that is generally orthogonal to the sidewalls 1260. In other examples, the slots 1252, 1254 are cut into the sidewall 1260 so that the slot edge faces 1262 are at an oblique angle relative to the outer surface 1266. The slot end faces 1264 are parallel to each other and are spaced apart by a slot length 1259b and the slot edge faces 1262 are spaced apart by a slot height 1259a.

Referring to FIG. 26B, each attachment leg 1230 comprises opposing attachment leg end faces 1232 spaced apart by an attachment leg length 1231. The attachment leg length 1231 is generally equal to, but slightly less than the slot length 1259b of the corresponding slot 1252, 1254 so that the attachment leg end faces 1232 can closely fit between the slot end faces 1264 without interfering with the slot end faces 1264 so that the attachment leg 1230 can be inserted into its slot 1252, 1254.

Referring to FIGS. 27 and 27B, each attachment leg 1230 includes a barb 1234. The barb 1234 includes an abutment surface 1236 that engages and bears against a portion of the inner surface 1267 of the sidewall 1260 adjacent or proximate the slot 1252, 1254 into which the attachment leg 1230 is received. When an attachment leg 1230 is fully inserted into its slot 1252, 1254 the engagement between the abutment surface 1236 of the barb 1234 and the inner surface of the sidewall 1268 tends to retain the attachment leg 1230 within the slot 1252, 1254 and resist removal therefrom.

Referring to FIG. 27B, the upper and lower rails 1210, 1212 also include a base surface 1238. Each attachment leg 1230 formed on the rail 1210, 1212 extends from the base surface 1238 and each base surface 1238 generally opposes the abutment surfaces 1236 of the attachment legs 1230 extending therefrom. The base surface 1238 is generally spaced apart from the abutment surfaces 1236 by a distance that is greater than the thickness of the sidewalls 1260 of the vertical members 1250. As illustrated, when an attachment leg 1230 is fully inserted into its slot 1252, 1254 the barb 1234 will be positioned inside the hollow interior of the vertical member 1260 and its abutment surface 1236 will engage the inner surface of the vertical member 1260. As described above, the base surface 1238 of each rail 1210, 1212 is opposed to and offset from the abutment surface 1236 so that the base surface 1238 will simultaneously engage the outer surface 1266 of the sidewall 1260 when the abutment surface 1236 engages the inner surface 1268. In other examples, the offset between the abutment surface 1236 and the base surface 1268 may be greater than the thickness of the sidewall 1260. The relative size and shape of the barb 1234 may be chosen to provide the insertion and removal performance desired by the user.

Each attachment leg 1230 may also be resilient, or include some resilient portions, so that it is moveable between a first position for inserting the attachment leg 1230 and barb 1234 through its slot 1252, 1254 and a second position for retaining (or securing or locking) the attachment leg 1230 within its slot 1252, 1254. When the attachment leg 1230 is in its first or insertion position the barb 1234 can be passed through the slot 1252, 1254 from outside the vertical member 1250 to inside the hollow interior of the vertical member 1250. To facilitate insertion of the attachment leg 1230 and barb 1234, an angled portion of the barb 1234 (extending from the leading edge 1240 to the abutment surface 1236 in the example shown) may engage a slot edge face 1262 and act as a cam surface to guide the barb 1234 as it is inserted, as described in detail above with respect to fence section 1100. When the attachment leg 1230 is in the second position the abutment surface 1236 engages the inner surface 1268 of the sidewall 1260. The resilient nature of the attachment leg 1230 biases the attachment leg 1230 is second position.

In the example of the fence section 1200 illustrated in FIGS. 25 to 29, both horizontal rails 1210, 1212 have a common extruded profile (also referred to as a first extruded lineal) that is formed by spaced apart top and bottom walls 1218, 1219 connected by integrally formed first and second rail sidewalls 1220, 1222 forming a generally rectangular channel.

In one example, as illustrated in FIGS. 25 to 27, the attachment legs 1230 on each rail 1210, 1212 all extend from the outer surface 1221 of the first rail sidewall 1220. In this example, the vertical members 1230 are all attached on the same side of the horizontal rails 1210, 1212 creating a single-sided fence section.

In another example, as illustrated in FIGS. 28, 28B, and 29, the upper and lower rails 1210, 1212 may be configured to include attachment legs 1230 extending from the outer surface 1221 of rail sidewall 1220 as well as including additional attachment legs 1230 extending from an outer surface 1223 of the second rail sidewall 1222. In this example, the plurality of vertical members 1250 can be described as first and second sets or groups of vertical members 1250a, 1250b. Each set of vertical members 1250a, 1250b being attached on opposite sides of the rails 1210, 1212.

In this configuration, the attachment legs 1230 extending from the first rail sidewall 1220 of the upper and lower horizontal rails 1210, 1212 are received within and connected to the corresponding upper and lower slots 1252, 1254 of the vertical members 1250 in the first set of vertical members 1250a thereby securing each vertical member in the first set of vertical members 1250a adjacent the first sidewall of both horizontal side rails. Similarly, the attachment legs 1230 extending from the second sidewall 1222 of the upper and lower horizontal rails 1210, 1212 are received within and connected to the corresponding upper and lower slots 1252, 1254 of the vertical members 1250 in the second set of vertical members 1250b, thereby securing each vertical member 1250 in the second set of vertical members 1250b on the opposite side of the rails 1210, 1212 from the first set of vertical members 1250a, adjacent the second sidewall 1222 of both horizontal side rails 1210, 1212. When assembled in this configuration, the fence section 1200 can be described as a double-sided fence.

In the double-sided configuration, the first and second sets of vertical members 1250a, 1250b can be arranged to directly oppose each other, or, as illustrated in FIG. 28, the vertical members 1250 from the first and second sets of vertical members 1250a, 1250b can be arranged in an alternating (or staggered or offset) sequence along the length of the upper and lower horizontal rails 1210, 1212. The first and second sets 1250a, 1250b can also be arranged in pairs in an alternating sequence, as shown in FIG. 28B.

In either the single-sided or double-sided configurations the attachment legs 1230 have an attachment leg length 1231 (the distance between opposing attachment leg end faces 1232, shown in FIG. 26B) that is generally equal to the slot length 1259b so that the translation (or moving or shifting) of each vertical member 1250 relative to the upper and lower horizontal rails 1210, 1212 along the upper and lower rail axes 1214, 1216 is inhibited when the attachment leg 1230 is received its slot 1252, 1254. Having the close or tight fit between the attachment legs 1230 and the slots 1252, 1254 may prevent the fence section 1200 from rattling (for example when exposed to wind) and may help maintain the desired spacing between vertical members 1250 for aesthetic and/or privacy purposes.

In each of the examples of fence sections described above, the attachment of the vertical members 1250 to the upper and lower horizontal rails 1210, 1212 includes only the connection between the attachment legs 1230 and the slots 1252, 1254 and is free from other fastening means. The connection between the attachment legs 1230 and the slots 1252, 1254 is a press-fit or snap-fit connection wherein an attachment leg 1230 is aligned with a corresponding slot 1252, 1254 and an insertion force is applied (by a user or during the manufacturing process) to push the attachment leg 1230 (including barb 1234) completely into its slot 1252, 1254. During insertion process the attachment leg 1230 (or a portion thereof) may deflect or bend as it passes through its slot 1252, 1254 and then “snap back” or return to its original position to positively engage a portion of the vertical member 1230 and retain the attachment leg 1230 within its slot 1252, 1254 once fully inserted. Fully inserted is understood to mean inserted to the extent necessary for the attachment leg 1130, 1230 to operatively or positively engage its slot 1252, 1254 so as to be retained therein to functionally secure the vertical members 1150, 1250 to the rails 1110, 1112, 1210, 1212. In the examples described, the attachment legs 1130, 1230 may be considered fully inserted when the they have been inserted to the point where abutment surface 1136, 1236 of the barb 1134, 1234 engages the inner surface 1168, 1268 of the vertical member sidewall 1160, 1260. When a functional or operational engagement between the vertical members and the rails is achieved an attachment leg 1130, 1230 may be considered fully inserted, even if a portion of the attachment leg 1130, 1230 extends beyond the outer sidewall surface 1168, 1268 such that a portion of the attachment leg is visible to the user after the fence sections have been assembled and the vertical members are slightly spaced from the rails.

Generally, a method for assembling a fence section using the snap-fit connectors described above includes providing a first and second horizontal rails that are parallel to, and spaced apart from each other. Both the first and second rails include at least one integrally formed attachment leg extending therefrom. In addition to the first and second rails the assembly method includes providing a plurality of vertical members. The size and shape of the vertical members may be dictated by user preferences or by the style of fence section being created (for example fence sections 1100, 1200). Each vertical member provided includes at least one upper slot formed in a sidewall for receiving one attachment leg from the first horizontal rail and at least one lower slot formed in the sidewall for receiving one attachment leg from the second horizontal rail. Depending on the fence style selected the upper and lower slots may be formed on the same sidewall or on opposing sidewalls. The fence panel is then assembled by connecting each vertical member to the first and second horizontal rails by inserting each attachment leg on the first horizontal rail into a corresponding upper slot on each of the vertical members and inserting each attachment leg on the second horizontal rail into the corresponding lower slot on each on each vertical member.

Referring to FIGS. 30 to 31c, another example of a barb 1334 is shown. The barb 1334 is an alternative to the barbs 1134, 1234 described above and is suitable for use with the members of fence sections 1100 and 1200. For the purpose of describing barb 1334 the like features of the horizontal rails and vertical members of fence sections 1100 and 1200 are identified by like reference characters, incremented by 100 and 200 respectively. In the example illustrated the barb 1334 is formed on the attachment leg 1330 of an upper rail 1310 that most closely resembles upper rail 1110. However, it is understood that the barb 1334 could be used on lower rail 1112 (as the rails 1110, 1112 have a common extruded profile), on the rails 1210, 1212 of fence section 1200 and on the attachment legs of the connection structure 1400 described below.

Referring to FIGS. 30 and 30B, the upper rail 1310 includes an upper wall 1318, first and second rail sidewalls 1320, 1322 and attachment legs 1330. Like rail 1110 described in detail above, the attachment legs 1330 extend from rail sidewalls 1320, 1322 for engaging the upper slots 1352 of vertical members 1350. Each attachment leg 1330 includes a barb 1334 at is free or distal end (the end spaced away from the rail sidewall 1320, 1322). Each barb 1334 includes a resilient retaining member 1335 (or tab or locking member) that is movably connected to the attachment leg 1330 near the leading edge 1340. The resilient retaining member 1335 is moveable between an insertion position, in which the retaining member 1335 is collapsed (or retracted or folded) against (or positioned in close proximity too without actually touching) the attachment leg 1330, and a retention position, in which the retaining member 1335 is upstanding (at an angle 1341 between 0 and 90 degrees) and extends away from the attachment leg 1330.

When the resilient retaining member 1335 is in the insertion position (as best shown in FIG. 31a) the barb 1334 has a barb height 1334a that is less than the slot height 1359a to allow insertion of the barb 1334 through the slot 1352. When the resilient retaining member 1335 is in the retention position (as best shown in FIGS. 31b and 31c) the barb has a barb height 1334a that is greater than the slot height 1359a so that the attachment leg 1330 cannot easily pass back through the slot 1352. Each resilient retaining member 1335 is biased toward the retention position so that the retaining members 1335 will automatically move from the insertion position to the retention position when fully inserted into the slots.

The resilient retaining member 1335 of each barb 1334 forms the abutment surface 1336 and when the attachment leg 1330 is fully inserted in its slot (as defined above) the resilient retaining member 1335 moves to the retention position so that the abutment surface 1336 engages the inner surface 1368 of the vertical member sidewall 1360. In the examples illustrated, when the retaining member 1335 is inserted and moved to the retention position the base surface 1338 of the rail 1310 contacts the outer surface 1366 of the vertical member sidewall 1360.

In some examples, the contact between the retaining member 1335 and the base surface 1338 and the inner and outer surfaces 1366, 1368 of the vertical member sidewall 1360 creates a satisfactory connection between the rails and the vertical members. In other examples, as shown in FIGS. 31a to 31c, the retaining leg 1330 may include a protrusion or projection 1339. The protrusion 1339 extends away from the attachment leg 1330 and is position intermediate the resilient retaining member 1335 and the base surface 1338.

Each protrusion 1339 has a protrusion height 1339a (shown in FIG. 31B) that is approximately the same as, but slightly less than, the slot height 1359a allowing the protrusion 1339 to closely fit within the slot 1352. Each protrusion is registered with one slot edge face 1362 when the attachment leg 1330 is fully received in the slot 1352. This configuration allows the attachment leg 1330 to be inserted into the slot 1352 and inhibits vertical displacement between the vertical members 1350 and upper 1310 and lower rails (as shown in FIG. 31c) as the projection 1339 is closely received within the slot 1352 and will contact the slot edge surface 1362 if the rail 1310 is moved vertically with respect to the vertical member 1350, or vice versa.

Referring now to FIGS. 31D and 31E, another example of a barb 1534 is shown. The barb 1534 is similar to the barb 1334, described hereinabove, and like features in FIGS. 31D and 31E are identified by like reference numerals as in FIGS. 30 to 31C, incremented by 200. The barb 1534 includes a resilient retaining member 1535 that is movably connected to the attachment leg 1530 near the leading edge 1540, and extends generally upwardly from the leading edge 1540. The barb 1534 further includes a second resilient retaining member 1537, which is configured similarly to the retaining member 1535, but extends downwardly from the leading edge 1540. The second resilient retaining member 1537 functions in a substantially similar manner to the resilient retaining member 1534, as described with respect to FIGS. 30 to 31C.

Similarly to the example of FIGS. 30 to 31C, the retaining leg 1530 of FIGS. 31D and 31E includes a protrusion 1539, which extends away from the attachment leg 1530. The example of FIGS. 31D and 31E further includes a shoulder 1547 opposed to the protrusion 1539. The shoulder 1547 and the protrusion 1539 cooperate to centre the barb 1534 with respect to the slot.

Referring now to FIGS. 32 and 33, an example of a connection structure 1400 for connecting members of a fence or other structure, for example fence sections 1100 and 1200, is shown comprising a first extruded lineal 1450 and a second extruded lineal 1410. The first extruded lineal 1450 extends lengthwise along a first longitudinal axis 1456 and has a sidewall 1460 with at least one slot 1452 (also referred to as a first slot) formed in the sidewall 1460. In the example illustrated the first slot 1452 extends generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis 1456. In other examples the slot 1452 may be at an oblique angle relative to the longitudinal axis 1456, for example 30 degrees or 45 degrees.

The second extruded lineal 1410 extends lengthwise along a second longitudinal axis 1414 and includes an attachment leg 1430 (also referred to as a first attachment leg) corresponding to the slot 1452. The attachment leg 1430 extends outward from the second extruded lineal 1410 and is generally parallel to the second longitudinal axis 1414. The first attachment leg 1452 is integrally formed with the second extruded lineal 1410 and is inserted into or received within in the first slot 1452 to secure the first extruded lineal 1450 to the second extruded lineal 1410.

Optionally, as shown in FIGS. 32 and 33, the first extruded lineal 1450 includes a second slot 1453. The second slot 1453 is generally parallel to, and spaced apart from, the first slot 1452. In this example, the second extruded lineal 1410 has a corresponding second attachment leg 1431 that is parallel to the first attachment leg 1430 and is received in the second slot 1453 when the first and second lineals 1450, 1410 are connected.

In the single-slot and double-slot examples, each slot 1452, 1453 forms an opening that extends through the sidewall 1460. Each opening or slot 1452, 1453 has opposed slot edge faces 1462 and opposing slot end faces 1464. The slot edge faces 1462 and slot end faces 1464 extending through the sidewall 1460 from the outer surface 1466 of the sidewall 1460 to the inner surface 1468 of the sidewall 1460.

In the example illustrated, the slot edge faces 1462 are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the outer surface 1466 of the sidewall 1460 and the first longitudinal axis 1456. In another example, the slot edge faces 1462 are at an oblique angle relative to the first longitudinal axis 1456 (for example the slot edge faces 1162 and 1262 described above).

Each attachment leg 1430, 1431 has a distal portion spaced apart from the second extruded lineal 1410 and a barb 1434 that extends from the distal portion. Each barb 1434 includes an abutment surface 1436 that engages and bears against a portion of the inner surface 1468 of the sidewall 1460 that is adjacent the slot 1452, 1453 into which the attachment leg 1430, 1431 is received. This engagement between the abutment surface 1436 and the inner sidewall surface 1468 may help to retain the attachment leg 1430, 1431 within its slot 1452, 1453 when the attachment leg 1430, 1431 is fully inserted into its slot 1452, 1453.

The second extruded lineal 1410 also includes a base surface 1438 that cooperates with the abutment surface 1436 to secure the second extruded lineal 1410 to the first extruded lineal 1450. Each attachment leg 1430, 1431 extends from the base surface 1438 and the base surface 1438 generally opposes the abutment service 1436 (either physically—i.e. the surfaces are facing each other, or operationally/functionally—i.e. the abutment surface and the base surface exert generally opposing forces on the first extruded lineal) and is spaced apart from the abutment surface 1436 by a distance 1472 that is greater than the thickness T of the first extruded lineal sidewall 1460.

The slot end faces 1464 are spaced apart by a first width 1474 (also referred to as a slot width) and the attachment legs 1430, 1431 received within each slot 1452, 1453 second width 1476. The second width 1476 is generally equal to, but at least slightly shorter than, the first width 1474 so the attachment legs 1430, 1431 can fit within the slots 1452, 1453 but translation or sliding of the first extruded lineal 1450 relative to the second extruded lineal 1410 along the second longitudinal axis 1414 is inhibited when the attachment legs 1430, 1431 are received in their slots 1452, 1453.

While the above description provides examples of one or more processes or apparatuses in accordance with the applicant's contribution to the state of the art as disclosed herein, it will be appreciated that other processes or apparatuses may be within the scope of such contribution, and any exclusive right that may be granted to the applicants in respect of such contribution is not necessarily limited to the aforementioned examples as specifically described herein.

Claims

1. A fence system, comprising: an upper horizontal rail and a lower horizontal rail extending along respective upper and lower rail axes, each of the rails comprising a respective extruded lineal of plastic material including a horizontal top wall extending laterally between first and second vertical rail sidewalls that depend downwardly from opposed edges of the top wall to define an internal cavity, a plurality of attachment legs each extending from a base surface and formed integrally with the sidewalls, and each attachment leg including a barb;

a plurality of vertical members each extending between the upper and lower horizontal rails, each vertical member comprising at least one upper slot and at least one lower slot, and adapted to be received into the internal cavities of the upper and lower rails;
wherein each of the attachment legs of the upper and lower rails is at least partially resilient to facilitate insertion of the attachment legs within respective ones of the slots when the vertical members are received into the internal cavities of the upper and lower rails; and
wherein each barb resists removal of the attachment leg once inserted into a corresponding slot to facilitate securement of each vertical member to the upper and lower horizontal rails; and
wherein each base surface is a surface of a base wall extending upwardly toward the top wall, and each of the attachment legs is cantilevered from a terminal end of one of the base walls;
wherein each barb comprises an abutment surface that is offset from the base surface and that bears against an inner surface of the vertical member adjacent the respective slot into which the attachment leg is received when the attachment leg is fully inserted into the slot to inhibit removal of the attachment leg from the slot; and
wherein each base surface engages an outer surface of one of the vertical members when each attachment leg is received in one of the slots.

2. The fence system of claim 1, wherein each rail includes a bottom side opposite the top wall, each rail being open at the bottom side along its length in an area between the barbs such that each rail forms a downwardly-opening generally C-shaped channel.

3. The fence system of claim 1, wherein each barb comprises a leading edge that facilitates insertion of the attachment leg into the slot.

Referenced Cited

U.S. Patent Documents

2608386 August 1952 Hart
3083951 April 1963 Huret
3136530 June 1964 Case
3164354 January 1965 Murdock
3289381 December 1966 Blum et al.
3343811 September 1967 Kusel et al.
3385567 May 1968 Case et al.
3388884 June 1968 Eggler et al.
3398981 August 1968 Vincens
3403641 October 1968 Baker
3485006 December 1969 Rozario
3490797 January 1970 Platte
3491984 January 1970 Nyberg
3498589 March 1970 Murdock
3506243 April 1970 Seiler
3610427 October 1971 Maziarka et al.
3617077 November 1971 Cavanaugh, Sr.
3618993 November 1971 Platte
3752553 August 1973 Bildahl et al.
3756567 September 1973 Murdock
3822053 July 1974 Daily
3918686 November 1975 Knott et al.
3931946 January 13, 1976 Soltysik
3973756 August 10, 1976 Lauzier
4014520 March 29, 1977 Walters
4035978 July 19, 1977 Bajorek et al.
4050828 September 27, 1977 Noro
4148454 April 10, 1979 Carlson et al.
4189796 February 26, 1980 Gutner
4266757 May 12, 1981 Kirkwood
4340199 July 20, 1982 Brock
4389133 June 21, 1983 Oberst
4390164 June 28, 1983 Cokelekoglu
4390165 June 28, 1983 Murdock
4480854 November 6, 1984 Doty
4565465 January 21, 1986 Oberst
4586697 May 6, 1986 Tornya
4623128 November 18, 1986 Dutch et al.
4725044 February 16, 1988 Cluff
4797020 January 10, 1989 Winston
4805879 February 21, 1989 Spera
4809955 March 7, 1989 Veilleux
4919394 April 24, 1990 Otte et al.
4929116 May 29, 1990 Mahl
4976567 December 11, 1990 Spier
4995591 February 26, 1991 Humphrey et al.
5284359 February 8, 1994 Baba
5533237 July 9, 1996 Higgins
5544866 August 13, 1996 Dye
5702090 December 30, 1997 Edgman
5713171 February 3, 1998 Andres
5862642 January 26, 1999 Erwin
5882001 March 16, 1999 Reinbold
5988599 November 23, 1999 Forbis
6029954 February 29, 2000 Murdaca
6042296 March 28, 2000 Wittig et al.
6135425 October 24, 2000 Platt
6305670 October 23, 2001 Ward et al.
6398193 June 4, 2002 DeSouza
6467756 October 22, 2002 Elsasser
6478287 November 12, 2002 DeSouza
6508457 January 21, 2003 Knudson et al.
6698726 March 2, 2004 Platt
6702259 March 9, 2004 Pratt
6752385 June 22, 2004 Zen et al.
6874766 April 5, 2005 Curatolo
6932328 August 23, 2005 Shreiner et al.
7007363 March 7, 2006 Forbis
7048259 May 23, 2006 Quaintance et al.
7168689 January 30, 2007 Giralt
7438284 October 21, 2008 McGinness et al.
7445196 November 4, 2008 Cantley et al.
7500654 March 10, 2009 Rosaen
7530550 May 12, 2009 Fattori
7543802 June 9, 2009 Petta et al.
7641180 January 5, 2010 Adderton
7744065 June 29, 2010 Terrels et al.
7802351 September 28, 2010 McGinness et al.
20030196395 October 23, 2003 Forbis et al.
20040018666 January 29, 2004 Lee et al.
20040026679 February 12, 2004 Terrels et al.
20040051092 March 18, 2004 Curatolo
20040188666 September 30, 2004 Pratt
20050199866 September 15, 2005 Clifford Green
20060001015 January 5, 2006 Forbis et al.
20080023684 January 31, 2008 Diamond et al.
20080217598 September 11, 2008 Dombroski
20080265232 October 30, 2008 Terrels et al.
20090065755 March 12, 2009 Sherstad
20090065756 March 12, 2009 McGinness et al.
20100155683 June 24, 2010 Payne et al.
20110073824 March 31, 2011 Lappin et al.

Foreign Patent Documents

1318164 May 1993 CA
2157325 March 1997 CA
2340600 September 2002 CA
2363976 May 2003 CA
2624235 September 2009 CA
2683274 April 2010 CA
7707911 July 1977 DE
0754600 January 1997 EP
H09195476 July 1997 JP

Patent History

Patent number: 8511648
Type: Grant
Filed: Oct 20, 2009
Date of Patent: Aug 20, 2013
Patent Publication Number: 20100096608
Assignee: Vision Extrusions Limited (Woodbridge)
Inventors: Peter McCarthy (Woodbridge), Vic De Zen (Woodbridge), Rolf J. Ohrstrom (Richmond Hill)
Primary Examiner: Daniel P. Stodola
Assistant Examiner: Matthew R McMahon
Application Number: 12/581,998

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Adjustable (256/67); Earth, Stone, Plastic, And Wooden (256/19); Connection (256/65.01); Rail To Post (256/65.02)
International Classification: E04H 17/00 (20060101);